Music & Me with … Jonni Slater- 01 Jul 2019 -
Image: Jonni Slater, keyboardist, recording artist and producer from Bristol
When were you first introduced to music?
My first musical memories are being in the living room while my parents listened to records and just absorbing the sounds of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Milt Jackson. I’ve never been able to zone out and ignore music while it’s playing, so those early experiences really took a hold of my mind and left a big impression.
Tell me about your favourite teachers
My piano teacher had the right level of old-fashioned discipline that I think I needed to keep me focused during all those years of scales and boring exercises, so a large part of whatever ability I have on the keys nowadays is down to her for teaching me good technique and making me practice!
What are your fondest musical memories?
I had a studio for a number of years with another producer in Bristol, Graham River, and there are so many great memories from that time. We worked on tracks with fantastic vocalists, recorded live sessions in theatres and vintage guitar stores, organised video shoots in abandoned buildings and on vintage motor launches and, most importantly, the music was great and really varied in terms of genre and style. Never a dull moment. More recently, collaborating with Maaike Siegerist has led to gigs all over the UK and in the Netherlands. We recently got back from performing at Delft Fringe Festival near Rotterdam; a new show (called “Weather Balloons”) with songs we wrote together and featuring projected videos for each one, which saw us travelling to Dartmoor and the Cairngorms to shoot footage on windswept moors and snowy peaks!
What is your favourite TV theme tune and film soundtrack?
A lot of 1960s movie soundtracks really speak to me. Lalo Shifrin’s “Bullitt” soundtrack is a great example; classy grooves and instrumentation that fit perfectly with those iconic scenes around San Francisco. Not sure about TV theme, but maybe the theme to “Perry Mason”; I only ever saw a couple of episodes, but the test of a catchy hook is if you’re still humming it years later…
What was the last music download/ CD you bought?
I’ve mainly been buying recordings by musical friends recently. The vinyl of Catherine Rudie’s “Mobius Kiss” has just arrived on the doormat; she’s an absolutely fantastic songwriter.
Imagine you’ve been given EUR 300.00 to spend on equipment, downloads, vinyl, CDs, DVDs or concert tickets. How will you spend it?
My eye jumped to the word ‘equipment’ straight away… Although I’m not so sure exactly what gear I’d spend it on right now. My alter ego (Alfonse: youtube.com/alfonsemusic) is currently putting out some electronic tracks using 1980s keyboards bought online for less than £50, so that could stock him up nicely…
How do you balance music with your other obligations?
The other obligations tend to get second best… but I have certain days for work and others where I can be free to follow inspiration.
What is happiness?
The buzz that comes from creating a new piece of music is something that never tires for me; I love hearing the layers building up in the recording process, watching the song grow from the germ of an idea to a full arrangement. Beyond music, I find happiness in the feeling of freedom that comes from travelling, and in being with the people I love.
Bandcamp – Buy music: https://jonnislater.bandcamp.com/